Beautiful Fennel Puree

In this recipe, fennel bulbs are cooked a la Grecque in olive oil and lemon juice until very tender and falling apart. They are then whizzed into the most beautiful puree, perfect for spreading, eating as it is, using as a dressing on salads or hot vegetables, or serving as part of a larger meal.

The puree has a wonderful mayonnaise type texture so it acts amazingly well as a dressing over salads, or over baked or steamed vegetables.

This dish comes from Italy, and it is the Italians who seem to use fennel the most. At one time, it was popular at the end of a meal, a delicious way to cleanse the palate. Parts of Tuscany still do this, I hear. The best salad is still fennel, sliced thinly and dressed with olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Just perfect. This dish retains those flavours but cooks the fennel to a soft and gentle puree.

Are you after similar dishes? Try Slow Baked Fennel with Chilli, Orange and Garlic, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Try some other purees too – Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean, Broad Bean and Butter Bean, and Spiced Tomato.

You can also browse all of our Fennel dishes, and all of our Puree recipes. You might like to check out our Dressings, Spreads and Dips too, and all of our Italian dishes. Or take some time and explore our Mid Winter menus.

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Avocado Salsa with Deep Fried Tortilla Crisps

Avocado has been so popular for the past decade that it is almost passé. But here we love the out of favour but full of flavour recipes, so in the dying moments of the avocado obsession, we bring you a keeper recipe – avocado salsa with the flavours of lemon, chilli, tomato and coriander. Enjoy!

There are oodles of ways to use this salsa – on toast, with corn chips, to top a lentil salad, for example. We have included 2 ways – serve as a snack or appetiser with fried tortilla crisps, or atop a salad of new potatoes.

Similar recipes include Cold Avocado Soup, Avocado Smash, and Pomelo, Ruby Grapefruit and Avocado Salad.

Browse all of our Avocado recipes, and all of our Dips. Or be inspired by our Mid Spring recipes.

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Orange and Pecan Cream Cheese

The problem with food fashions is that really useful ingredients get put aside, left behind, left on the shelf. Remember cream cheese? If you are of a certain age you will recall the cream cheese dips. I had a particularly flavoursome one that involved chilli sauce, a jar of sweet and sour vegetables and loads of coriander leaves. It was quick, easy and magnificent.

But over time, cream cheese has lost its appeal in the food world. It is pretty much ignored in place of feta, ricotta, cream, tahini, avocado and other creamy and fashionable ingredients. In our kitchen, however, cream cheese still has its place on the refrigerator shelf amongst these other beautiful ingredients.

It isn’t a dip today, but the recipe is for a spread that we are making with cream cheese. It is so easy it is hardly a recipe, but we share it in the way that we usually do, for consistency. It is cream cheese mixed with orange juice and pecan nuts. Yum.

Use the spread on crackers, or on slices of fruit. If you would like to use it as a dip, simply whip it until it becomes lighter.

Similar recipes include Quince Molasses and Tahini Spread, Miso and Tahini Sauce, and Yoghurt and Kaffir Lime Leaf Spread.

Browse all of our Cream Cheese dishes and all of our Spreads. Or explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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Fava Bean Salad with Garlic and Dill

This classic Egyptian Salad is wonderful, if you are a lover of dried broad beans (fava beans). It cooks the small dried fava until just done, or just a little over-done and beginning to disintegrate, and then mixes them with herbs, spices and olive oil. The result is a wonderfully flavoursome salad or side dish.

The recipe makes a fair amount, so you are likely to have some salad left over. Left overs make great spreads (try on sour dough bread with sliced tomatoes, cucumber and radish) and it is wonderful in salad wraps.

Similar recipes include Fava Bean Mash, Fava Bean Soup with Roasted Garlic, and Fava Bean Puree.

Browse all of our Fava Bean recipes and all of our Egyptian dishes. Or browse all of our Mid Winter dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Yummy Zucchini Dip with Yoghurt Sauce and Buttery Chilli Pinenuts

Just when you had thought you had seen everything, charred/burnt zucchini crosses your path. In the same way that you would char eggplants for dishes like Babaganoush, zucchinis can be roasted and turned into delicious dips and spreads. After charring, the flesh is slippery, silky, smoky and delicious.

Then, in Middle Eastern Style, the mashed zucchini flesh is topped with a sauce made with yoghurt and Roquefort cheese. In the original of this Ottolenghi recipe, the sauce uses an egg to thicken it. As we do not cook with eggs, we use the age old trick of adding besan (chickpea flour) to the cheese-yoghurt mix, and let it cook out to produce the most beautiful sauce. It is tangy and intriguing, this sauce.

THEN, over the top of what already feels like a whole dish, chilli buttery pinenuts are drizzled, and that is scattered with za’atar. Divine. Inspired. Gorgeous. It challenges Baba Ganoush for deliciousness.

As mentioned (you could guess anyway, right?) this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Orange and Pecan Cream Cheese, Babaganoush, Baingan Pora, and Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate.

Browse our Dips and our Spreads, and our Zucchini recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Miso and Tofu Dipping Sauce and Dressing

We love our dipping sauces, ones that an be used as dressings and sauces as well. This one, another recipe from a pack of miso, is wonderful. It takes soft tofu and blends it with miso, garlic and saké. Yum!

Similar dishes include Miso and Tahini Sauce, Miso Sesame Dressing, and Chilli Miso and Sesame Sauce.

Browse all of our Miso recipes and all of our Dipping Sauces and Dressings. Or explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Creamy Horseradish Dressing or Dip

The garden has recently acquired a horseradish plant, so we are beginning to think about uses. It is commonly included in cocktail sauce, cheese sauces, specialty mustards, dips, spreads, hummus, relishes and dressings. It gives coleslaw, potato salad and baked beans an exciting new taste. Horseradish butter, horseradish mayonnaise, horseradish sour cream dip and horseradish barbecue sauce are common. It can be added to stock, even to pizza sauces! But most of all I am looking forward to liberally as a herb. It can be fermented as well.

If you are growing horseradish, it can be used fresh, but mostly it is grated and mixed with vinegar to maintain its fresh, spicy taste.

However, in these recipes, you can use store-bought horseradish, sold in jars at the supermarket.

Are you after other dressings? Try Yoghurt Tahini Dressing, Herb Dressing, and Almond Butter Dressing.

You can browse all of our Dressing recipes here. Or browse all of our Mid Autumn dishes.

This post contains one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can see more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Dried Fava Bean Mash with Olive Oil | Koukofava

Dried fava beans are loved in Greece. This is an exquisite yet simple dish. Simple food, simple execution, incredible flavour. Fava beans are never mixed with lemon in Greece, as might a puree of yellow split peas, confusingly also called Fava. Rather the acidic and other strong flavours are eaten alongside the puree. Lemon wedges, salty accompaniments, raw onion, olives, pickled peppers and parsley are very common accompaniments. It is rarely eaten on its own.

Fava (the dish) is made with yellow spit peas and the one made with fava beans is call Koukofava. So very confusing, what were they thinking! Koukofava is a favourite in Crete and in various islands in the eastern Aegean. It is often cooked together with a little potato, which gives a smoothness to the final texture but also uses more olive oil.

Similar dishes include Fava Bean Puree with Olive Oil and Dill, Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs, and Fava Bean Puree with Fresh Herbs.

Browse all of our Fava Bean recipes, and our Greek dishes. Or explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Quince Molasses and Tahini Dip, Paste and Spread (or eat it by the spoonful)

Our Quince Molasses this year is awesome, tasting every so slightly of roses and with a tart-sweet flavour. We make a jar full in Autumn each year to last us through to Summer, but having discovered this recipe we may have to double the quantity in future.

Mixing Quince Molasses with Tahini produces a spread (or dip, or dressing) that could be used for sweet or savoury purposes. The tahini modifies the sour notes of the molasses to form something that is so moreish, I dare you to stop eating it by the spoonful.

In Iraq, this spread is called Ardeh Shireh and in Turkey it is called Tahin Pekmez.

Similar recipes include What to do with Quinces, Quince Pickle, Quince Molasses, and Pomegranate Molasses. Also try Miso and Tahini Sauce and Dressing.

Browse all of our Quince recipes and all of our Sauces, Spreads and Dressings. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Celeriac Hummus with Spiced Cauliflower Tabouleh and Burrata

An article about the original talent behind the food at Nopi reveals a Malaysia-born Indian-Malay-Australian man, Scully. We can claim him as Australian as he lived and trained here before heading off to London. He sounds amazing, and the story of him teaching Ottolenghi “restaurant” and being taught “Ottolenghi” by Yotham is gorgeous. I have to say his Paprika Oven Chips are the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted – or at least the family demands them often. Now Scully has his own restaurant – called, of course, Scully. I hear it is amazing!

This recipe from Nopi comes at a time that most of a celeriac bulb sits in the fridge – the way that most dishes come, right? I’d used a little of the bulb for another dish, and was idly searching for a new use. The idea that this puree is a great alternative to hummus was attractive. So, the puree can be made without the cauliflower topping, but, combined with the other elements, it makes a substantial starter or even a meal in itself, served with warm, crusty bread, pitta or other flatbread. For guests, make the puree and cauliflower in advance.

It is sort of Sully’s take on Hummus with Tabouleh – I have cheekily named it Celeriac Hummus with Cauliflower Tabouleh and Burrata. And it is a wonderful Sunday Brunch dish.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column and articles.

A note about ras el hanout – this is a warming but not hot  North African spice mix and recipes for it can contain 20 different spices. They vary from family to family.  A simple recipe is here if you can’t find it locally.

Similar dishes include Cauliflower Shawarma, Roasted Cauliflower and Hazelnut Salad, and Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree.

Browse all of our Cauliflower dishes and all of our Celeriac recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Nopi are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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